My friend, James Taylor

After several months of counting down to the concert,  I finally got to go and see my favourite EVER musician, James Taylor, at the Vector Arena on Saturday night.  I’ve loved James Taylor’s music since my dad introduced me to it about six or seven years ago and I’d always hoped that I’d get to see him live in concert.  I’ve been to a lot of concerts over the years but James Taylor and Carole King’s Troubadour Reunion concert is the best by far.  Although I’m not a huge fan of Carole King’s it was great to see her belt out her hits and her duets with James were amazing.  I could have easily listened to both of them sing for the rest of the evening and judging from the several standing ovations and numerous encores, so could the rest of the audience. 

Watching and listening to James perform some of my favourite songs, such as Fire and Rain, Sweet Baby James, You’ve Got a Friend, and a hilarious performance of the Blues-inspired Steamroller, was an experience I’ll never forget.

James Taylor is one of those singers that make me feel great every time I listen to him.  The feeling that his songs and his mellow voice invoke are hard to describe but they just make me feel good about life and I know that if I’ve had a bad day or I’m feeling down, James Taylor can pick me back up again. 

Are there any musicians or songs that have a similar connection for you?

Good things always come in threes

We’ve been lucky enough in Christchurch lately to have some great musical acts performing here.  Just over a week ago we had Diana Krall with support from Melody Gardot and Madeleine Peyroux at the Westpac Arena.  That was a great concert and I was pleasantly surprised by how good the venue was considering the sound quality at other concerts that I’ve been to there. 

It’s always good to see several amazing musicians in one concert, as it was with Diana Krall, and this week we have another three music greats visiting the city.  On Wednesday night at Westpac Arena my Dad and I are off to see Boz Scaggs, Michael McDonald, and Mick Fleetwood.  All three of these guys have been around for donkey’s years but are still going strong and are out there touring the world.  I’m not a die-hard fan of them but they make some great music and when I get the chance to go to a live concert I jump at the chance.  I’m counting down the days until James Taylor and Carole King play at the Vector Arena and I know when they take the stage I’ll be buzzing with excitement.

If you can’t make it to the concert or you want to prepare yourself for Wednesday night, check out their music that we have in the library:

Don McGlashan: On the unpopular edges of a popular field

Don McGlashan, who played North Hagley Park on Saturday, is one of New Zealand’s foremost songwriters. His name appears four times in the APRA Top 100 songs of all time – with Blam, Blam, Blam, The Front Lawn and The Muttonbirds.

This eight-minute interview was  an opportunist one – after his songwriting session at the Auckland Readers and Writers Festival he generously agreed to answer a few questions.

Fascinating to talk to, McGlashan shared his love of “Dickens with cannons”, which Roger Hall put him on to; his belief that he is on the unpopular edges of a popular field; details of his 1930s cowboy guitar which he bought in Christchurch; and some of the  literary-style techniques that he uses in his songwriting.

The book that McGlashan talks about in the first part of the interview is Bounty, by Caroline Alexander.

Did you see Don at Sounday? And what’s your favourite song of his? Or is his style too much for you?

Dave Dobbyn at the TelstraClear Club

You really can’t beat seeing a great musician perform live and it’s even better when they go acoustic.  One of my favourite New Zealand musicians (and a Kiwi legend), Dave Dobbyn performed with some other local legends last night at the TelstraClear Club in Cathedral Square.  Dobbyn belted out some of his back catalogue, focusing on less well known material with a few hits thrown in.  Some of the ones he chose I hadn’t heard before, which is always good as I can then go and get his previous albums from the library to listen to them.  Old favourites, including ‘Whaling,’ ‘Welcome Home’ and ‘Oughta Be In Love’ were given the acoustic treatment.  My only disappointment was when Dobbyn handed the mic to his back-up singer for one of my favourite songs ‘Oughta Be In Love’ (who I thought did a fairly average version of the song).  I didn’t let this ruin the concert though and I thoroughly enjoyed the evening.  The venue was perfect for the more intimate nature of this concert and I’m looking forward to going back there on Thursday night for the Wellington Ukelele Orchestra.